The Z340E is the latest attempt to combine Polaroid's ZINK mobile printer with a digital camera, harking back to the days of yore and the firm's instant film business.
Polaroid first made the transition from film to digital in 2008 with the announcement of its PoGo printer. The portable unit connected to devices such as mobile phones and compact cameras through the user’s choice of USB or Bluetooth wireless technology, and images were printed on ZINK paper, with a standard print taking around 60 seconds.
In the years since, Polaroid has attempted to combine a digital camera with the PoGo ZINK printer, while a second-generation printer, the GL10, has also made its way to market. The Z340E is the latest attempt to combine Polaroid’s ZINK mobile printer with a digital camera, harking back to the days of yore and the firm’s instant film business.
The model features a 14MP digital camera, complete with 2.7in LCD screen and support for an SD card (although it does feature onboard memory too). The onboard printer utilises the same technology as that found in the GL10, and prints now measure 3x4in, printing in under the minute mark.
As mentioned, the combination of a digital camera and portable printer is very much a reminder of Polaroid’s instant film past, and this is evident in the design. The body features a bulky curved shape that’s distinctly retro in feel, and comes complete with a side-mounted handgrip.
General image quality isn’t fantastic, and due to the demands on power made by the ZINK printing technology you’ll get a maximum of 25 prints out of one charge. The ZINK paper could also prove pricey for the snap happy, with a pack of ten priced around £5.
The printing process can either be instant (as was traditional) or can be undertaken when reviewing images. This gives you the chance to apply a number of effects to images after the capture, including a ‘Classic’ Polaroid border.
Overall, the Z340E is far from being a rip-roaring success – the price-tag is a touch too pricey for what it is, which is essentially a fun gadget rather than a serious imaging device.